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Hamas attack on Israel kills scores, Netanyahu declares ‘we are at war’

Iranian-backed Hamas forces focused on southern and central Israel, and infiltrated the town of Sderot.

Published: October 7, 2023 2:44am

Updated: October 7, 2023 10:30pm

Palestinian terrorists in Gaza launched a stunning attack against Israel on Saturday with rockets and ground forces, inflicting significant casualties and prompting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to declare “we are at war.”

At least 300 people were reported killed and nearly 1,500 wounded in the clashes as Iranian-backed Hamas forces focused on southern and central Israel, and infiltrated the town of Sderot, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said.

”We are at war,” Netanyahu declared in a televised address. “Not an ‘operation,’ not a ‘round,’ but at war.”

“The enemy will pay an unprecedented price,” he added, promising that Israel would “return fire of a magnitude that the enemy has not known.”

The attack resonated across the globe, leading to condemnation for both Hamas and Iran.

U.S. airlines suspended flights to and from Israel, as the Biden administration condemned Hamas for the unprovoked attacks. Republicans in Washington, however, sought to blame the Biden administration for releasing $6 billion in recent funds to Iran, which backs Hamas.

Israeli officials said they had several hostage situations where Hamas militants were holding civilians and Israeli soldiers, and they were going community by community to eradicate any known terrorists.

“There is no community in Southern Israel where we do not have forces in all the towns," Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson Daniel Hagari said late Saturday. "There are communities that have been rid of terrorists, but we want to finish additional scans of the area before declaring so."

The major attack early Saturday morning around 6:30 local time consisted of rocket barrages, according to The Times of Israel.

CNN is reporting that Hamas, which controls Gaza, claimed 5,000 rockets have been fired in the first hours of the attack in what Hamas is calling an “Al-Aqsa Storm," and that sirens have gone off in Jerusalem, where they’ve  heard rocket-warning sirens and booms, indicating the interception of incoming rockets.  

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant was headed to Tel Aviv to meet with other security chiefs and with Netanyahu. The Israel Defense Forces said it was moving to a “state of war readiness.”


IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi was assessing the situation and approving plans of action.

“Hamas… which is behind this attack, will bear the results and responsibility for the events,” the IDF said.

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